Có những phát minh khoa học tuy nhỏ, nhưng đóng góp một phần quan trọng trong cuộc sống của chúng ta. Ngoài ra những phát hiện lý thú ở khắp nơi trên trái đất sẽ sẽ cho chúng ta thấy, cuộc sống sinh động đến nhường nào. Tôi xin tập hợp một số thông tin ‘amazing science’ thu lượm được, xin giới thiệu cho các bạn cùng tham khảo.
1. Tiny robot weighs less than half an ounce
A Japanese company has developed a robot that weighs less than half an ounce.
Seiko Epson took a year to develop the prototype Monsieur II-P microrobot.
The tiny machine dances on two wheels and is fitted with miniature ultrasonic motors.There are no plans to put the robot on sale but it will be unveiled to the public at Robodex 2003 in Yokohama in April. A number of the robots will perform a synchronised dancing demonstration at the exhibition
2. Nail-biters at risk of lead poisoning
People who habitually bite their fingernails are more at risk from lead poisoning, according to Russian scientists.The researchers say that lead in the body accumulates in the fingernails and can lead to illness in those who often chew on them. Children are particularly at risk and could have problems in their development, say the scientists from Yekaterinenburg. However, the danger of lead poisoning can be reduced through the consumption of milk and vitamins, they added.
3. Scientists invent tool to inseminate rhinos
German scientists have developed a special tool to artificially inseminate rhinos. The catheter was developed by a team of Berlin scientists, who have already tested it on a number of rhinos. It is made of flexible carbon fibres and has a tilted tip to match the special anatomy of large mammals.So far, no African rhinos have ever been artificially inseminated in captivity.But veterinary medical expert Thomas Hildebrandt says he is confident his team will be successful “in the near future”.Some 15 zoos in Europe and northern America are cooperating with the Berlin team. In one of their attempts, a female rhino was impregnated, but the pregnancy didn’t last. Hildebrandt says the tool has proved uniquely successful. Nobody else ever got this far and actually carried out any insemination attempts,” he said. The tool can also be used for other large mammals like tapirs or giraffes.
4. Autumn conception increases likelihood of having a boy
Researchers have discovered couples can improve their chances of having a boy by conceiving in the autumn. Those who have their heart set on a girl, on the other hand, should try for a baby in the spring. The rule is due to the way nature compensates for the fact that males are more fragile than females at the start of their lives, say the scientists. For reasons that are not clear, fewer boys than girls are conceived when conditions for pregnancy and birth are not ideal. The Italian scientists have now shown that nature compensates for this in a remarkable way, by allowing significantly more boys to be conceived at the most favourable time of year. Optimum conditions vary in different latitudes because they are linked to the length of daytime hours and environmental temperature. The best conditions for having a baby are a daytime of 12 hours and an average temperature of 12C. Maximum conception rates therefore occur at opposite times in regions on either side of the equator. The Italian researchers, led by Dr Angelo Cagnacci from the Policlinico of Modena, reached their conclusions by studying more than 14,310 births over a six-year period between 1995 and 2001. Dr Cagnacci said: “Whatever the explanation it’s fair to say that nature, recognising that male foetuses and newborns are more vulnerable than females, treats conception as a handicap race and tries to give boys a head start by favouring them in optimal reproductive conditions.” The study has been published in the journal Human Reproduction.
5. Motorised boots to go into production in Russia
Walking boots fitted with tiny combustion engines are set for production in Russia.Inventor Viktor Gordejev, from Ufa in the Ural Mountains, says the boots cut the energy of walking by about 70%. As soon as the wearer steps forward with one foot, the engines propel the other one forward. Mr Gordejev says inspiration came 30 years ago when he was serving in the Soviet army. He explained: “I always wished my boots had engines as we had to walk miles every day. That’s how I came up with the idea.”The boots will retail for about £600 a pair when they go on sale in Russia later this year. Boris Rudoi, head of the Space Travel Institute in Ufa which helped Gordejev realise his dream, says there has been considerable interest in pre-orders and talks are already underway with partners to market the boots internationally. He added the boots had to be closely guarded from Japanese and American industrial spies during their development.
6. Italian grandmother gives birth to triplets – naturally
A 52-year-old Italian grandmother is recovering in hospital after giving birth naturally to triplets. Antonietta Mellone, who already has three grown up children, says she has never used fertility treatment. The boy and two girls, Gabriele, Alessia and Nunzia, were born seven weeks premature and are all in incubators at a special care baby unit but hospital officials say their prospects are good. Doctors at the clinic in Naples said it was “extremely unusual and very rare” for a woman of 52 to give birth to triplets – they weighed in at between 2.4lbs and 3.7lbs. Professor Carmine Nappi, head of the maternity unit, said: “This is an exceptional medical event. A woman of more than 50 years old giving birth naturally to triplets is something I have never heard of before. “Mrs Mellone, who has a grandson of six months, said: “I have never used fertility treatment. In our family this is not unusual last year my cousin of 51 had a baby girl.”
7. DNA micro-computer unveiled
A new tiny biological device could lead to powerful computers driven by DNA. Scientists in Israel have been showing off the DNA machine which is recognised as the world’s smallest biological computing machine. It works using molecules of DNA and an enzyme. A microlitre of solution containing the molecules could hold up to three trillion DNA computers. Together they would have the capacity to perform 66 billion operations per second. The breakthrough was made by Ehud Shapiro and colleagues at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. In cells, DNA encodes programs that provide the instructions for building proteins. Scientists have been trying to find ways of getting DNA to do the same in the form of a conventional computer. The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says the new system uses two complementary DNA molecules – an input molecule and a software molecule. Both spontaneously bond together. The software molecule then directs the “hardware” – a DNA-cleaving enzyme – to cut a piece of the input molecule. The enzyme, FokI, breaks two bonds in the input DNA double-helix, releasing the energy stored in these bonds as heat. In principle, a DNA computer using the same process could drive itself, the researchers said.